It’s being called by many the perfect hire at the perfect time for Maryland football and as qualified a candidate as you’ll find.
One thing is certain, with Mike Locksley, a native son has returned home.
“Boy, it sure feels good to be home, man. It feels great to be back,” said Locksley as he was introduced as the 37th head football coach in program history. “I can’t tell you guys enough how this is a dream come true for me.”
Locksley was introduced inside Cole Field House. He’s back for a third stint with the Terrapins. This time he was hired by Terps Athletic Director Damon Evans to be the top man on the sidelines.
“I grew up worshiping and loving the Terps,” said Locksley. “When I got into coaching this was the one job that I always coveted.”
Locksley is from Washington, D.C. He’s held different coaching jobs under three previous head coaches at Maryland.
“I’ve spent ten years of my coaching career here,” he said. “I’ve seen the good, bad and ugly of Maryland.”
But not the ugliest.
Locksley takes over for DJ Durkin, who was fired on October 31. Interim Head Coach Matt Canada led a Terps program in 2018 rocked by last summer’s death of player Jordan McNair, two weeks after suffering heatstroke during a team workout, and the scandal that followed.
Locksley would not address that directly, rather he focused on where he wants to take his new team.
“It’s my goal to build this thing into a football family. The number one thing for me, just like being a father in the family, is ensuring that every decision I make moving forward as the leader of this family will put the health, welfare and safety of the students first,” he said.
One notable person in attendance Thursday was Jordan's father, Marty McNair. Locksley has been friendly with the McNairs for years.
Locksley, 48, comes back to Maryland after spending three seasons at powerhouse Alabama, the last two as offensive coordinator. He recently won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach.
He is known as a top recruiter, especially in the DC-Maryland area.
“If we keep the gates around the D.M.V. and we get the top players in this area to buy in to staying here at home and building this thing from the ground up together, there’s nowhere in the country we can’t go and compete with the best,” he said.
Locksley still has a job to do with Alabama. He said he’ll stay in Maryland until probably the end of next week then travel back to Tuscaloosa to prepare for the college football playoff.